Archive for the ‘animals’ Category
(Reposting this old piece so I can more easily find it. One line tweaked to make it generic.)
I found a fragrant pebble;
When I smelt it, out he came.
He turns quite green with envy
If left out in the rain.
I could trade him in for silver
Or beat him 'til he's thin;
Reduce him to a third
if I boiled him in a tin;
But cruelty's corrosive
So I treat him as a friend,
In hopes that I'll be hearing
A purr there at the end.
Herm: So apparently the part of my brain that stays conscious and functional the longest when exhausted is that which makes animal taxonomy puns. #
Herm: This probably comes as no surprise to anyone. Except me. At the moment, even moving images and sounds are a constant source of wonderment. #
Herm: Expressing a coherent thought verbally is beyond me at present. However, ask me for a pun on leopards and The Matrix and I'm right in there. #
Anke: "Expressing a coherent thought verbally is beyond me at present" sounds like a coherent thought to me. :P #
Herm: If you talked to me, it would be expressed as "Bluh bluh colours! What?" #
Anke: Ah, yes. Writing good. #
Just a collection of reference pics for a future minor character – the son of a genetically uplifted horse, who commissioned a bunch of magogeneticists to give her foal a horn. She wanted him to be special. That's also why she named him Moonflower Etheriel Bliss. *facepawheaddesk* Mares.
These following are all pics of one cremello chap and right for colour, but I don't know that he'd be the right breed/build. (I know the horses in this setting are roughly Percheron-derived, but I haven't the expertise to recognise one if it came up and ate a stick at me.)
Here's a pic that I particularly like (source unknown; the url on the picture is sadly domainsquatted now, so I can't find out any info about it), although this might be overdoing the feathers. You know, just a tad.
And finally, amusement courtesy of Second Life, because whatever daft idea you come up with, someone is bound to have done it before in Poser…
I am in my TOP SECRET LOCATION (travelodge), preparing for my TOP SECRET MISSION (corporate training course), sitting around in my TOP SECRET SPY DISGUISE (pants). That is all, bitches.
My homey Ganesh was playing ball today. No quaint Sol-Earther transportation devices exploded or ricocheted off anything or delayed my passage. Also, saw a mouse from the Tube platform. And a couple of dogs at Euston. This is of course important.
- A Canine and our Hapless Narrator.
- Present Remotely.
- A Tuxedo Cat adept at Filibustering.
- Professor Mousington
- A Cut-throat Mackerel Tabby and Brother of Filibuster, who has a Flavour.
Int. A Sofa. Late Afternoon, New Year's Eve.
(6:16:47 PM) Herm: * Professor Mousington is watching Quantum Leap
(6:17:25 PM) Anke: is that the guy who travels through time by possessing people, and is accompanied by a hologram?
(6:17:28 PM) Herm: Yes.
(6:22:56 PM) ***Herm sees another cat waiting at the window. …Oh, and now he's ringing the doorbell.
(6:23:11 PM) Anke: Smart cat?
(6:25:40 PM) Herm: They do a special loud miaow. We call it ringing the doorbell. Cheeky brats – I can hear it even from the next room.
(6:31:34 PM) ***Herm has the other cat on lap now
(6:40:33 PM) Herm: phone rnging, but can't move lap full of filibuster
(6:41:08 PM) Anke: it's a nefarious complot to keep you from getting calls
(6:42:06 PM) Herm: It's true! he does it n purrpuss
(7:06:46 PM) Herm: now have two cats, one on knee, one jammed into small space beside me, the latter licking the former.
(7:07:19 PM) Anke: fluffy
(7:07:28 PM) Herm: My bro: he has a flavr.
(7:13:55 PM) Herm: The brothers are now asleep cheek-to-cheek. It's adorable when they do this.
(7:36:37 PM) Herm: Oh. *sad* Our sandwich filling got up and left.
(7:36:59 PM) Herm: I guess his brother had cleaned him sufficiently.
(7:38:58 PM) Herm: Now we're just a bread sandwich with blanket butter. *wails, sobs*
Herm glanced around the pet shop, which was similar to one Herm had visited during waking hours a day and a half back. The display of interest was a free-standing glass tank in the middle of the room, which contained a creature known for some reason as a Breakfast Fish.
This was a metre long and brown, mostly eel-catfish in the body as Herms viewed it from behind. Its monstrous face, all lumpy brow and irregularly jutting needle-teeth, in anyone else's dream would have signified a nightmare. However, since this was Herm's mind, the general consensus was that the Breakfast Fish was extremely adorable and a cuddly baby.
Upon stepping round the tank to view the open front, the fish's party piece could be seen. A prospective dad had put his face in the water, through the open front of the tank that was designed to allow this.1 The Breakfast Fish is well known to show affection to its owner by smooching the owner's face. This it was doing, to general merriment and delight.
Herm, possibly after throwing up the horns on general principle, although Hansard is remiss on this important point, went to look at a row of vivaria along one wall. Blue and gold macaws lived in these, and with the presumable aim of fostering the interest and curiosity of such big-brained birds, the tanks were left open to adjoining habitats, and the constrictor in the far enclosure was allowed free roam.
This, it turned out, was not such a brilliant idea.
Herm grabbed the attention of the attendant before the snake had quite choked one of the macaws to death. The attendant was fighting a losing battle trying to pry the snake's coils off when Herm declined to watch the scene any further, wandered off and woke up elsewhere.
1We must assume there was some special arrangement of hardfields and electromagnetic effectors in play.
(Feel free to analyse the stuffing out of this one, but I maintain it just means I want a pet.)
I may or may not be working my way through Wikipedia's list of Black Dogs in popular culture. Regardless, I read this book recently.
The Kettle Chronicles: the Black Dog by I. S. Morgan has a hideous cover, which it proceeds to defy by not only not sucking, but also being quite a charming little book.
This is a historical story (I hesitate to call it a novel, it's so short) set around a spooky event in the Suffolk town of Bungay in 1577, popularised at the time by Abraham Flemyng's pamphlet entitled "A Straunge and Terrible Wunder". (This pamphlet is real. I own a modern copy.)
Flemyng, let's be clear, was a churchman with a Christian axe to grind. Though he was not present in Bungay on the Sunday in question, when loud thunder accompanied the deaths of two of the congregation, nevertheless he wasted no time in reporting the attendance of a diabolical black dog and dressing the whole thing up as an expression of God's wrath. Of course. This sort of thing always happens in out-of-the-way places that Flemyng's London-based target readership have probably never visited.
However, the pamphlet also makes its way back to Bungay itself and is duly read out with great relish by pub landlords all over town, and soon half the congregation is claiming that they did remember seeing a black dog…
The book follows Captain Richard Brightwell as he investigates the affair on the orders of the area's bishop. The book itself was supposedly compiled with the aid of notes made by Captain Brightwell's attendant scribe, John Kettle (the titular Kettle Chroniclist, and another character based on a real historical figure). Also present are a manservant, Humphrey, whom one could reasonably accuse of slyness – all in a good cause, of course – and a gentle seven-foot-tall mute monk named Augustyn, sent along to act as bodyguard and general human shield.
The Kettle Chronicles: The Black Dog is a short book with a lot packed into it. The writing style is eccentric and works rather well, I think, but Your Mileage May Vary. The historical references are both slyly applied and explained by endnotes (the automatic numbering of which seemed to have undergone some form of MS Word fail in my edition).
Of course the central mystery is concerned with the supposed Black Dog, whom the locals know from legend as a "shilly-shally" named Black Shuck, and who is usually more likely to accost people on lonely roads and give them a scare than to burst into churches and wring the necks of two town feoffees.
The storyline takes in both mundane and supernatural events. The tale, including its frequent humour, is focused on the human characters' interactions with the denizens of the town.
There is a romantic subplot. This manages to be portrayed slyly and not boring, and does not dominate proceedings. It's not really necessary either, other than a bit of human interest.
A short, obscure book, but one that definitely belongs in my tiny collection of Black Dog and ghost dog literature.
It's impossible to get enough octopodes. Talented octopus dupes predators by impersonating fish
I don't have an actual wooden spoon in my immediate possession, but kindly imagine me slapping one contemplatively against my palm in anticipation of the first person here to go "RULE ONE AND TWO!!2!".
Dude, best. I dreamed about a whole bunch of red pandas.
I appeared to be at a concert that was being held for my brother's birthday. I was sitting some way up the auditorium, a nice stone classical affair, and chumming up with someone I think was my old physics teacher.
Some animals came on, and while they were pygmy dachshund-like pigs at first so of course I didn't recognise them, eventually they became identifiable as red pandas, and climbed onto a few people's laps. Their
trainer attending servant put one on my brother's lap. I headed down to the front sharpish and got hold of some of the green gobstopper-like treats people were given to feed to them, but the red pandas were already finishing their act.
Cool or what? My logic, which is correct, is that if the wahs have found a way even into my mental fortress, it won't be long before the entire world falls to their cute. The unutterable teases.
KENT LANE OLSEN STOP THE PRESSES GET ME MORE North Tyneside lifeguards help ducks across road
Southern Sudan unveils plans for animal-shaped cities, because just what we need in the middle of downturn and genocide is a Dubai-style construction effort. Obviously.
As existing readers will know, I'm of the staunch opinion that non-human animals are much like human animals, and that includes bullying specimens that differ from the main herd:
We're all animals, baby, and not only in nice ways.
I don't think any gay parents wanting to adopt should go to Catholic charities, considering the odious teachings that church espouses and has espoused on the topic of people who fall in love with people the Church doesn't want them to, but for me this is about organisations engaging in special pleading and trying to flout the law.
For a church that's also trying to get the whole "Catholics can't marry into the British monarchy" thing repealed, you'd think they would try to be model, cooperative citizens, not attempt to create mini-Vatican states for themselves.
The charity's toys-ex-perambulata response, preferring not to help any children at all rather than comply with a law that won't affect them much because gays are well aware they're not welcome in Catholic organisations unless they're also lying, predatory paedophiles, just shows the nastiness that lurks under the surface.
Nastiness that they seem determined to prioritise when things like this are going on:
Speaking of schadenfreude, thirty injured as bull jumps into crowd at Spain arena
Despite bucking the overall trend in the Jewish community and witnessing a rapid growth in birth rates, [Haredi Jews] are experiencing high levels of poverty.
Jonathan Boyd is from the Institute of Jewish Policy Research. He told the conference that the Haredim have been so successful in maintaining their numbers that they could double in size every 18 years.
Sorry, but those two facts together are not "success". Success is children NOT being born into poverty. Children being born into poverty is in fact FAIL. I don't care who you are – don't have more children than you can afford.
They gloss over the "queue jumper" aspect quite quickly, but that's the most salient point for me.
In which (three short updates) we see a little glimpse of Young Suitov's values. Wait, he has what now?
Suitov was currently standing at the top of the steps, in the early morning light, raking the gravel of the driveway. This was accomplished without touching it physically. When one is fifteen and a new mage, one tends to do things the flashy, inefficient way for the sake of it.
One Dog Night continues. (I really need to find a better name. They've been together for, what, a couple of days now, and the story's continuing for at least another couple.)
N.B. There is an overlap of a sentence at the end of some posts. That's just to do with where I break off writing. Will be fixed in a final edit.
PTSD, which the military characterises as a condition that develops after a life-threatening trauma, has not been researched in animals as thoroughly as in humans. But some experts say animals can experience a form of it.
When will we get over the idea that our psychology couldn't possibly be anything like that of another large social mammal? Of course a dog can develop a traumatic disorder! Know something else? They can feel grief, jealousy, loneliness, humour and joy. Of course they bloody can.
All of those have biological uses. They're not just pretty, meaningless trappings we picked up around the same time as Gug and Mog worked out how to bash two flints together. There's a word for people who think they are the special only ones in the universe who can ever truuuly feeeel things so deeeeply. Well, there are several words for it, but I was thinking of "teenager".
I tend to work from a basic assumption that anyone with a nervous system pretty similar to mine is going to have a brain pretty similar to mine. Making allowances for my weirdly overdeveloped abstract thought and language habits, beginning from the standpoint that the other person's point of view is different but possible for me to understand, at least partway, hasn't led me far wrong before.
I think this is an advantage of being one of those strange, shadowy autistic creatures with supposedly no Theory of Mind. What I actually have is a default assumption that other people don't think like me, but that they do think. In my view that's much superior to swooping around empathising at people on the basis of what I personally like and dislike, not even realising how ridiculously I'm projecting.
"Oh you poor dear, how did you get all that red lacquer on your nails? Do you feel very ridiculous? Oh don't worry, I won't think you're necessarily a shallow bitch!" ← Learning not to do this has stood me in good stead.
The Golden Rule is not gospel for aspies. It's dangerous. I treat others, always assuming I care about their happiness, as I think they would like to be treated. Because then it's about them, not about me. Another good thing about that approach? It includes the potential for iterative improvement.
Last night, after going to bed quite upset about the family cat remaining seriously ill, I dreamed about my long-since-ex-dog, Bracken.
I was in some kind of town centre pedestrian shopping street, and she needed to wee, so I found a tree for her and that was all right. (Picture the usual sort of trees that grow in a one-paving-slab-size patch of dirt in town centres, surrounded by grilles on the ground, where idiots tend to drop cigarette butts.) Right near the end of what I remember, I saw my mother also preparing to pee on a tree, which was just odd.
Piper continues alive and alert, although lethargic, complaining of a dry mouth and barely eating (clear signs of kidney trouble, which both his humans suspected before it was diagnosed). On a positive note, we haven't seen any frothy pee after he started antibiotics. He is receiving fluids subcutaneously (in case you didn't know this, cats have a LOT of space under their skin. Loose skin is good protection from other predators who might try to grab them, and helps them squeeze through tiny places. Our neighbour Princess, a huge Maine Coon cross, has been observed forcing herself through a 6cm gap). (Apparently my school teacher genes are activating as some kind of coping mechanism.)
Giving up on our spoiled cat is not an option while he remains bright-eyed and squeaky and wants to live. If there were such a thing as kidney dialysis for cats, his mother would have him on it. We're far from rich, and he's not even a dog, but this is still a family member we're talking about.
Animals are sort of a big deal for me. I'm autistic, so it's a given that I can relate to non-human animals more easily than to humans. Furthermore, and given that it's my understanding that humans are hard-wired to need tactile contact with others, I can't touch other humans without it hurting (the discomfort is psychological but altogether real). If I'm after touch stim, I need – physically need – an animal.
The family pet is the first thing I look for each morning and the first thing I go and find when I get home from work, unless he happens to want something and has consequently come to wait by the door. He's my perpetual fall-back topic of conversation. He never comforts me when I'm sad, but he amuses me whenever he's hungry.
As it happens, I'm wired to live with two dogs, so lodging with a single cat was already less than ideal, but the thought of a house empty of quadrupedal life is… not something I can contemplate with equanimity.
I have a confession. I really dislike the niqab – the full Islamic veil. If I were asked to vote on a ban, I'd really have to grit my teeth in order to vote against it rather than abstain. But I would vote against. My own feelings about the demonisation and control of women are my own business, and I do not accept that they belong in law.
Statistically there's far more risk to the public in this country from cats than from face veils1, and (albeit, again, on principle only) I'd be against banning cats too.
How will the vote go in France? Will other countries follow suit? The Netherlands perhaps? It's just not going to end well for moderate hippie can't-we-all-get-along bleeding-heart-and-artist scum like me, that's all.
1 I have not verified this. This is what is known as an unfounded claim. (If you've never seen one of those from me before, you haven't been paying attention.) But you get the point. There's definitely more danger from water than from either of the other things, but stalwart attempts to ban H2O haven't yet made headway.
Questionable statistics time! By 2051 in the UK, by comparison to the 2001 census, there will still be a comfortable white majority, but other ethnicities will have increased in number by a long way. 79% white d00ds is the prediction, compared to 92% in 2001.
This is from a study published by the University of Leeds (and led by a geographer for some reason) and compiled by a bunch of statisticians, who, though Bau knows I like you all in a generalised benign sort of way, just shouldn't be allowed to predict anything to do with living beings ever.
I shudder to imagine how the red-masthead headlines will summarise this. The BBC's long-form headline is relatively neutral and informative. (update just before posting: oh look, I was right)
A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) finds that in some nations, more than half of CEOs see nature loss as a challenge to business growth.
That seems bizarre, and I guess consumer-driven, but possibly a good thing?
US 'disappointed' that Switzerland won't extradite an old man who admitted anally raping a thirteen-year-old girl. Oh, and his house arrest has been lifted too. The Swiss are holding to their position based on some legal technicalities. Fine, but just wait until he sets foot outside the border…
Schools are advised against holding swimming lessons during Ramadan. To prevent children accidentally drinking water.
I don't know if things have changed since I last splashed around in a school swimming pool, but the very last thing I wanted to do was swallow that chlorinated, wee-filled stuff.
It's not only swimming lessons that should be rescheduled, apparently. Exams and sex education should also be postponed because of the disruption to sleep and the requirement to avoid sexual thoughts during the month.
Am I misremembering the principle of the thing, or isn't the point of Ramadan to fast around and in addition to your normal life, in order to feel closer to those without enough food, rather than to change everyone's lifestyle to suit your requirements? I'm sure I remember something about how following your faith ostentatiously is kind of missing the point.
Katherine Jenkins to star in Christmas Doctor Who. Next Easter special: Dizzee Rascal. Next Christmas special: Nick Griffin.
Earth 0.01% younger2 than previously thought, say scientists. Young Earth creationists claim victory!
2 my maths, so blame me if I forgot the difference between a Brit and a Merkun billion. Can't they publish these figures in sensible powers of ten?
A new 'liquid armour', working on the principle of "what custard does when you whack it", which is more formally known as shear-thickening and is a particular habit of things called non-Newtonian fluids, can STOP BULLETS WITH ITS MIND. And some Kevlar for show, but basically with its mind.
Choir to sing their own DNA. "Somewhat uninspiring lyrics but the music was terribly natural and organic and, um, nucleosidic."
It's a full step in geekiness above the Ayreon song that features vocalists singing in binary…
Pictures time. This tapestry maps the lines of what claims to be the world's biggest diffraction pattern. (Yes, I have heard it publically claim this…)
…and a cyclist in a supremely daft pose, for which we at Black Dog Blog salute him.
And finally, the earliest evidence of a pet tortoise in Britain. Pretty cool to find a pet tortoise alive 130 years ago, wouldn't you say? Well, what if I tell you it was A GUARD TORTOISE IN A FRICKIN' CASTLE and that it had dominion over a PACK OF VICIOUS ATTACK DOGS AND CATS? This was one badass Tetsudo, my friends. It was probably called something like Avenger or Bloodletter3. The fact that it was the only pet tortoise in the vicinity was no stop to its badassery, because its supreme awesomeness permitted it to impregnate other tortoises anywhere within 45° longitude of its location, which, as was previously mentioned but bears repeating, was a FRICKIN' CASTLE.
Tortoises are so cool.
3 or possibly "Lightning", because some senses of humour never change.
I know, a sodding football story, but I love octopuses too much not to give Paul a brief spot here.
Green woodhoopoes pumping each other up for a big fight. "You're a tiger! You're invincible! Say it; say 'I'm a tiger'! Now get out there and peck 'im!"